STATESMAN ARCHIVES

Date of show: Oct. 22, 1989

Long before the Red Hot Chili Peppers were accepting their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, they were laying down the groundwork necessary for success by becoming known playing shows all across the country.

In 1989, Stony Brook University students were treated to the stylings of yet another musical act that would proceed to explode with mainstream success after gracing the north shore of Long Island.

Statesman reporter, Jessica Kuzmler, had the scoop on the Chili Pepper’s concert in the gymnasium on October 22.

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“(They) kept the audience rocking throughout the night, complete with the dirty jokes in between sets and their very exposed image.”

While today’s fan of the Chili Peppers will reflect upon songs like Scar Tissue, Give It Away, and Under the Bridge as classic RHCP songs, students that attended this 1989 concert were exposed to some of the Chili Peppers even earlier material.

“Their music is of the hardcore scale, though it hard to tell if the Peppers are trying to be trash metal while they’re headbanging to their own music, or just plain Rock ‘N Roll with the volume turned up loud,” wrote Kuzmler.

The band’s third album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, released in 1987 was the only studio album with all four original members, and it was the first album to garner any chart attention.

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“Fight Like A Brave” was not only the first song off the album, but it was the first single written by Kiedis, reflecting upon his demanding drug addictions and his fight to overcome them.

After the passing of founding guitarist, Hillel Slovak and the departure of drummer Jack Irons, vocalist Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea regrouped, added new members and recorded, Mother’s Milk, the band’s first album certified gold in 1990.

The album’s first single, “Knock Me Down” was the band’s most popular song to date not only a tribute to the late Slovak, it served as the first drastic stylistic change for the band.

While all the members struggled to deal with addiction, Kiedis was never actually serious about kicking his habits until an overdose took a founding member and close friend in Slovak.

Kiedis’ struggle to come to terms with his friend’s passing prompted the writing of this song during his clean period about the sickness of drug addiction and inflated rockstar egos, which need to be knocked down.

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These types of tracks that the Chili Peppers had in their arsenal at this time were raw, funky and extremely emotional tracks that tracked a tough transitional period for the band as they morphed into superstardom.

Stony Brook students were able to witness the band during an interesting point in their career where they were really trying hard to find a style that fit them as a band.

Their eclectic mixture of genres such as funk, punk and hard rock gained them the recognition necessary to jump start their careers, however perfecting a mainstream alternative style launched them to an unprecedented level of appreciation.

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1 comment

  1. Heck yes… I was there and indeed it was in the gym. No seating per se, just plenty of standing room. Little did any of us know at the time that this was a one-time occurrence. It took more than 20 years for me to see them for the 2nd time. Between the two, I watched “Live at Slane Castle” dozens of time. If you can’t catch them live (hard to do these days), Slane is a close 2nd.

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